Photography By: Raven Benwait
Words By: Gerrod Harris
Touring off of the height of last year’s incendiary release VII: Sturm und Drang (you can read my review here), Lamb Of God, along with Clutch and Corrosion Of Conformity, put on one of the heaviest performances Echo Beach has likely seen with their Toronto stop on May 19th; one which will certainly be considered a highlight of this year’s summer concert season!
Taking the stage and kicking the night off just after 7 was metal pioneers Corrosion Of Conformity. Their set began with a hard core introduction, or rather a metal overture which was rather fitting for the night. The band then launched into their sludgy, thrash fueled for the next forty minutes, performing classic material to a very supporting audience. Considering they were the first band of three acts, there was an abundance of Corrosion Of Conformity shirts seen throughout the growing audience. The audience, in fact, was much like a cross-generational congregation of metal heads, made up of those who were fans of Corrosion Of Conformity in the 80’s and 90’s, as well as a younger generation of Lamb Of God fans. To this gathering of the metal, Corrosion Of Conformity brought a lesson in the roots of metal with their highly unique brand of the genre which was as much an example of early thrash as it was a predecessor to grunge, due to certain psychedelic aspects of their music. Corrosion Of Conformity put on an exciting set which certainly won over the crowd, while also leaving us with news that their new album- their first in three years- will be out in 2017.
Much like Corrosion Of Conformity, there was an abundance of Clutch patches and shirts seen among the crowds, which on part of both show openers, was an impressive feat to gather such a following without headlining. Clutch, who brought along a more mainstream hard rock sound, rocked the beach to a much fuller audience. Having never heard them before, I was excited to see Clutch and was very impressed by their riffs and tight rhythm section which propelled the band forward. Their blues based, riff driven rock was fun, but unfortunately, to someone new to their sound, I felt that by the end of their set demonstrated very little escalation in energy from the beginning and much of their material resembled one another. Nonetheless, they put on a solid set which had the audience anxiously waiting for Lamb Of God.
Walking on to the stage to the sound of the audience chanting their name as illuminating screens displayed clips of buildings collapsing, Lamb Of God burst into their explosive anthem, “Walk With Me In Hell”. The band would continue to perform a set list comprised primarily of tracks mostly from their albums, Sacrament as well as Ashes Of The Wake. Without taking nearly any moment to rest, Lamb Of God drove through blisteringly heavy set, which one could only complain that it was too short, as the band performed for just over an hour. That being said, what an exceptional hour it was. Few bands display such a high level of musicianship and ability as Lamb Of God, and of those bands, few are ever as tight as they are. Without faltering once, Lamb Of God delivered tracks exactly as heard on record, while still managing to fill them with a rush of excitement and raw energy. From the push and pull rhythms of “Still Echoes” and the shifting pulse of “Laid To Rest”, to the dense layers of “Blacken The Cursed Sun”, they demonstrate a highly developed sense of precision. Following their set, my long standing theory of Chris Adler being one of metals most precise and clean drummers was confirmed. The guitar work of Willie Adler, Mark Morton, and bassist John Campbell, is incredibly cohesive; no matter how intricate each of their parts are, they manage to perform them perfectly, creating a thick wall of distorted guitars. While Lamb Of God is a highly impressive force instrumentally, what stood out to me was the unrelenting power and sheer aggression of Randy Blythe’s voice. For such a little man, his voice and presence is incredibly commanding. How he can make it through an entire set of roars, screeches, and throat wrenching howls, and still manage to speak following such is a mystery we may never truly understand. The man is an absolute monster.
Considering this was my first all-out metal show, I had an absolute blast. Lamb Of God is a band which stands out among the current climate of metal. This is partially due to the aforementioned caliber of their musicality, but also for their progressive nature, not in terms of progressive rock, but rather their obviously intentional avoidance of the many and frequently overused elements of modern metal music. One listen to VII: Sturm und Drang or a trip to a Lamb Of God concert will prove just that. They remain one of the most powerful and unique forces of nature among metal, deserving of the respect and far more credit as innovators to the current state of the genre. What an incredible display of incendiary musicianship and explosive energy. Without a doubt, Lamb Of God put on an excellent show and are worth seeing time and time again with their show stopping, jaw dropping spectacle of larger than life, metal madness.
Lamb Of God’s set list:
1: Walk With Me In Hell
3: Still Echoes
6: Ghost Walking
7: Now You’ve Got Something To Die For
9: Blacken The Cursed Sun
10: The Faded Line
11: Set To Fail
13: Laid To Rest